Alanna Cooper, director of Jewish Lifelong Learning with the Siegal Lifelong Learning Program, wrote about her experience attending a burial to mark the end of a synagogue’s congregation in Pennsylvania.
Facing dwindling numbers, the congregation at the Temple Hadar Israel in New Castle recently decided to wind down its operations. Many of the synagogue’s assets were given away or donated. However, some ritual items remained, and the congregation decided to bury them at the local Tifereth Israel cemetery.
Cooper attended the burial as part of research into “what congregations do with their material objects when they merge, downsize or shut down.”
She described the event in a piece for Jewish Telegraphic Agency, titled “A Rust Belt synagogue ‘runs out of people’ and gathers to bury its past.”